The spin from today's Masterpiece ruling varies. Some have said that while it was a victory for baker Jack Phillips, it was so narrow (not focusing on the argument of using religion to discriminate under the guise of "religious liberty but instead focusing on how the Colorado Commission treated Phillips's religious beliefs) it did not give the anti-LGBTQ right a solid victory.
SCOTUS didn't address the argument of "religious liberty." And while some prognosticators have made good points on this being potentially negative for the LGBTQ community, others claimed that the court actually affirmed our rights and dignity. This is something which cannot be omitted.
But of course the anti-LGBTQ right bypassed the possible affirmation of gay rights and tried to make the case either seem like a complete victory or incentive to come back in other cases. Their responses struck me as very lukewarm. There was very little general crowing on how the supposed concept of "religious liberty" won the day.
Like us, Justice Clarence Thomas knew this crisis was coming. "In Obergefell, I warned that the Court's decision would 'inevitabl[y]... come into conflict' with religious liberty, 'as individuals . . . are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.' This case proves that the conflict has already emerged. Because the Court's decision vindicates Phillips' right to free exercise, it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day. But, in future cases, the freedom of speech could be essential to preventing Obergefell from being used to 'stamp out every vestige of dissent' and 'vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.' If that freedom is to maintain its vitality, reasoning like the Colorado Court of Appeals' must be rejected." The time is coming -- and soon -- when the court will have to wade into the bigger clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriage. When it does, let's hope it agrees with the majority of Americans, who understand that -- regardless of what you think about marriage -- no one should be forced to violate revealed and established biblical truth.
Alliance Defending Freedom:
Despite the ruling’s narrow scope,(ADF's Kristin) Waggoner said the decision still opens doors for religious conservatives to advance their agenda. She said the court's decision could have particular implications for a case from Washington state, where a florist declined to make an arrangement for a gay couple's wedding in 2013. In that case, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought a lawsuit against Arlene's Flowers and its owner, Barronelle Stutzman. Waggoner contended that Ferguson was hostile because he sought damages from Stutzman in her personal capacity and bypassed that state's civil rights commission. That, she said, leaves open the possibility that the Supreme Court could take up Stutzman's case or send it back to the lower court in light of Monday’s decision. She also cited other cases in Arizona and Colorado that could bring the underlying legal questions back to the Supreme Court — that is, whether First Amendment rights to free speech and religious exercise allow shopkeepers to refuse certain wedding-related services. "We expect the court will eventually have to rule," Waggoner added.
And how folks are responding to this poll from the American Family Association's news source, One News Now, is especially telling (Results as of 5:45 p.m. Monday):
While a victory for Phillips was mostly expected (we might as well admit this to ourselves), the narrow scope took everyone by surprise. I tend to think that the anti-LGBTQ industry was expecting a slam dunk. Instead, they got what can be described as a pitcher of hot water on blistering day.
How about instead of getting angry that they got the pitcher in the first place, the LGBTQ community start thinking of ways to tip that sucker over.